The Difference Between Business Class and First Class?

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One of the most thrilling experiences that any traveler can have is using business class or first class when flying to a destination. 

For those of us who haven’t had the luxury of flying in an upgraded cabin, the distinction between these two celebrated cabin grades can be hard to gauge. So, what makes them different? Let’s take a look.

First Class

In short, flying first class is a little bit more expensive and nicer than business class. Why? Typically, in first class, your seat will lay flat in order to serve as a bed, and oftentimes your space will be able to be converted into a private “apartment-like” setting so that you aren’t seen or disturbed by other passengers. Food is typically of world-class quality, with menus designed by world-renowned chefs being common. This is the cream of the crop of the flying experience and usually is only offered on long (6+ hour) flights.

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𝐌𝐲 𝐅𝐚𝐯𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐞 𝐀𝐥𝐚𝐬𝐤𝐚 𝐌𝐢𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐠𝐞 𝐏𝐥𝐚𝐧 “𝐓𝐫𝐢𝐜𝐤” 𝐓𝐨 𝐆𝐞𝐭 𝐌𝐚𝐱 𝐕𝐚𝐥𝐮𝐞 🛫⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ With programs like United MileagePlus dropping unannounced devaluations on us, it’s nice to know Alaska Mileage Plan still shows some respect for its members.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ 𝘞𝘦𝘭𝘭, 𝘦𝘹𝘤𝘦𝘱𝘵 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘮𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘌𝘮𝘪𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘴 𝘥𝘦𝘷𝘢𝘭𝘶𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘪𝘯 𝟸𝟶𝟷𝟼. 𝘉𝘰𝘰𝘰!!⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Still, Alaska continues to offer solid award rates on some partner airlines that offer some fun business and first class experiences.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ 𝐎𝐧𝐞-𝗪𝐚𝐲 𝐒𝐭𝐨𝐩𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐬🌏⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Along with great award rates, my favorite part of Alaska’s program is that it allows stopovers on one-way tickets. While you can only include one partner airline on a one-way award, this is still quite useful.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐀𝐥𝐚𝐬𝐤𝐚 𝐌𝐢𝐥𝐞𝐬 “𝐓𝐫𝐢𝐜𝐤”⭐️⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ I put “trick” in quotations since this isn’t really a trick but rather a great way to use a stopover on a one-way ticket. It’s also forgotten way too often.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ It’s as simple as this.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Let’s say you use 50,000 Alaska miles to book a biz class award ticket to Los Angeles from Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Rather than stopping there, take advantage of the stopover option. If you live somewhere else, take a few days to visit LA.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ If you live in LA – and here’s the real “trick” – then stopover in your hometown for a few months before flying somewhere else in the U.S. for a weekend. Maybe a trip to NYC or Chicago.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Just because you live in LA, doesn’t mean your destination has to be LA. It can easily be included as your stopover city when you book the flight home from Hong Kong.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ So, with 50,000 Alaska miles, you can fly home from Asia, go back to work, then start another trip all on one award ticket.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ 𝐅𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐓𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐬⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Personally, I think other airlines should provide these opportunities. Rather than focusing on cutting benefits, I’d like to see airlines find ways to create value for their customers with options like this.⁣ ⁣ 𝐘𝐨𝐮'𝐥𝐥 𝐰𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐫.

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Business Class

Flying business class is really nice too and is a common alternative to economy class on medium-range and long-range flights. Here, your seat will have extra legroom and you’ll be able to stretch out during the flight. These days, some business class seats lie flat as well and serve as beds. The meals are nice, even restaurant-quality, and you will be waited upon very well by the flight staff.